The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) agrees with the core conclusions of a detailed TUC report, which has also been welcomed by the CBI, calling for the UK Government to step up its low carbon investments and protect industries and jobs that need to be transitioned as part of the response to climate change.
The core parts of the TUC report (1) include:
- A dedicated call on the UK government and companies to work together to future-proof jobs at risk of offshoring.
- The union body estimates that between 368,000 and 667,000 jobs could be offshored from Britain if industries fail to meet climate targets and the UK falls behind other countries on climate action.
- The North West of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands are the regions with most jobs at stake.
The TUC notes that low carbon investment in the UK is falling behind its competitors, whilst low carbon alternatives are being developed in a number of areas, such as the creation in Sweden of steel powered through green hydrogen and other forms of renewable energy, that need to be developed here. If such policy does not get ramped up many thousands of jobs at risk.
The TUC report noted that the UK is second last among G7 economies for its green recovery investment. While the UK Treasury is barely investing £180 per person on green recovery and jobs over the next decade, President Biden plans to allocate over £2,960 per person on green recovery. Scaled by population, the UK’s green recovery investment plans are just a quarter (24%) of France, a fifth (21%) of Canada, and 6% of the USA’s plans.
The report also notes that, whilst the UK’s zero carbon targets are in line with scientific data, the policies to deliver them are not, as the Committee on Climate Change has concluded.
The Government’s independent Green Jobs Taskforce recently published proposed measures for how green jobs can be secured for the future, including by increasing targeted investment into industrial decarbonisation, support for reskilling, and social dialogue between employers, unions, and government. This follows on from the excellent suggestions made by the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Commission and some positive work in Ireland on transforming the work of Bord na Mona. A full analysis of such policy work can be found in the NFLA’s detailed report on delivering a ‘Just Transition’. (2) Some ways Councils may be able to pay for that transition can also be found in its latest report on Council Pension Funds investments and the divestment debate. (3)
Amongst the actions the TUC are calling for include:
- Implement the Green Jobs Taskforce recommendations in full;
- Level up investments in green infrastructure, including industrial decarbonisation, in line with its G7 peers, extending to 2030;
- Put in place strict local content requirements for energy projects, infrastructure, and procurement;
- Establish a Just Transition Commission, including representation from employers and unions, to oversee the workforce aspect of the transition to Net Zero;
- Introduce a permanent short-term working scheme to help protect working people through periods of future industrial change.
NFLA strongly support climate justice schemes like ‘Just Transition’ as the fairest way to assist many thousands of workers in high carbon industries and protect them as transformation takes place towards a low carbon economy. The terrible experience that took place with the closure of the coal mines, devastating and blighting so many mining communities cannot be replicated. Excellent approaches have been developed by the Scottish Just Transition Commission, in the exemplary joint reports of the Scottish TUC and Friends of the Earth Scotland and other groups which give a blueprint on the direction to develop such a policy framework.
This new TUC report emphasises the real urgency that needs to come from central government to deliver that policy framework. Local government, which has moved much more quickly on developing policies and schemes to tackle the climate emergency, is also crying out for a new funding and powers framework to play its important part in climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as supporting a ‘just transition’.
NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:
“I welcome the TUC report on the urgent need to assist a transition from high to low carbon work sectors and to protect the vulnerable workers within these sectors. There was much talk of a ‘green recovery’ from the UK Government but it is clear we are already behind the curve. Successive governments have not protected or prepared for the need to move rapidly away from high to low carbon industry and protect our vital manufacturing sector, which has declined for over five decades now. We must change tack. The UK, Irish, and devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have to work together and with local government to ensure this mammoth transformation is done effectively, and above all, fairly.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 07771 930196.
Notes to Editors:
(1) TUC report, Safeguarding the UK’s manufacturing jobs with climate action, 12th September
(2) NFLA Policy Briefing 219 on the Just Transition, August 2021
(3) NFLA Policy Briefing 220 on divestment from fossil fuels and nuclear weapons investments, 9th September 2021